Finally! Face to face with Shabby Chic Inspirations by Rachel Ashwell

As we said, what seemed so terribly long ago at the start of autumn in our Sun Porch Transformation post, the day finally came and we went to Rachel Ashwell's SoHo book signing on Mercer St.  What an outstandingly "yummy" evening!

On our way to Manhattan
We had seen Rachel Ashwell in her store, by absolute chance about a year ago infact, so it was really fantastic to actually meet her this evening.  Last year for a birthday celebration we met, Bunny Williams, oddly enough at her book signing for her new book called Scrapbook for Living.at Treillage..
Last Year with Bunny (photo courtesy Bunny's Facebook)

... and then right afterwards we went to go dance ourselves into a fury watching Florence & the Machine perform at Terminal 5.  So naturally to really balance all moods and all things considered beforehand we decided to pop into the Shabby Chic store to shop sofas, comfy headboards, and really start the evening off right.  Unexpectedly, there was Rachel!

First, we noticed her voice.  We looked at one another thinking we had played one of her DVDs in our collective mind and almost expected to hear her say, "Please sir, just paint my walls white." but this was real life and not a video.  There she was, just simply existing along all her bits in her world while looking the store over.  She was resetting the arrangements while photographing her inspiration board...
...and then later what looked like doing a consultation or giving an interview.  

Certainly we could've asked for photographs or simply pulled up shabby chic chairs as friends are wont to do and casually listened in as her support without interference as chipped paint is never wont to detract from the function or beauty of a piece of furniture.  However, we didn't want to intrude; we've a complete respect for the process that is part of the act of creation and thought our inner-cheering altruism, rather than that of foam-finger-fandom, would be collectively more helpful and appreciated as a way to give her encouragement.

And so, here we are, one year later finally meeting Rachel at her invitation to the signing of her new book Shabby Chic Inspirations and Beautiful Spaces.  We got there just in time to hear her explain in her own words all about the new book and all that was within it's pages.

There are not just varying creamy or shadowy white nuances of pale pinks and greens one associates with the characteristic Shabby Chic palate.  Rachel is also embracing the Shabby Chic aesthetics of others thru their jeweled tones and natural happenstance beauty that otherwise might be neglected in complete tragedy as only trendy design fashion or over saturated environments, but rather found as she sees them like lone objects, as the vivid namesake would suggest, as jewels, giving affluence to a genre of deep forethought and purpose vs that of a mere whim.

Rachel also spoke of the friendships and the connections throughout the book and the journey she wishes it would take us on.  Next she answered questions from the audience collected around her along with mushy pumpkins, pillows, sofas and chairs - enlightening us by even going all the way back to the beginning of where Shabby Chic's own namesake is derived.

All in all her presentation, her speaking, her story telling, the powerpoint deck (seriously kidding there!) was a very intimate collection of recollections and quick stories that brought smiles to everyone.

And then, it was time to finally have a conversation for the ages, 1 on 1, with Rachel Ashwell and all about her Shabby Chic world...

The beginning...